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NFL Round-up

©Associated Press
September 16, 2002


Bills 45, Vikings 39 (OT)

MINNEAPOLIS -- Though overtime was much kinder to them this time, Drew Bledsoe and Buffalo would rather not take so long to win one.

Peerless Price streaked untouched down the middle for a 48-yard touchdown catch and Bledsoe set career and franchise highs with 463 yards passing. Price caught the winning score with 7:30 left.

"It'd be nice to win one in regulation," Bledsoe said.

The Bills, who lost 37-31 to the Jets last week, played back-to-back overtime games for the second time and first since 1987.

Mike Hollis tied it as time expired in regulation with a career-long 54-yard field goal that bounced over the crossbar. That answered Moe Williams' 3-yard touchdown run that put the Vikings up 39-36 with 26 seconds left, the fourth lead change of the fourth quarter.

"With Drew, if you're down 40-0, you believe you can win," Price said.

Price, whose 3-yard touchdown catch put Buffalo up 36-32 with 4:19 left, had a career day with 13 catches for 185 yards. Rookie Josh Reed had a touchdown among his eight receptions and 110 yards.

"This is hard to put into words," said Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper, who fumbled three times.

Chargers 24, Texans 3

SAN DIEGO -- If Houston didn't look like an expansion team in its opener, it sure did by the time Junior Seau and the Chargers were done with the Texans.

Seau, the perennial Pro Bowl linebacker, intercepted rookie David Carr to set up one of Curtis Conway's two touchdowns and defensive end Raylee Johnson recovered Carr's fumble in the end zone for another score.

Rookie linebacker Ben Leber sacked Carr in the end zone early in the fourth and forced a fumble, which Johnson jumped on for the only touchdown of the second half.

The Chargers kept Houston from becoming the first expansion team to win its first two games. Houston upset Dallas 19-10 Sept. 8 to become the first expansion team since Minnesota in 1961 to win its first game.

Leber had three sacks, Pro Bowl defensive end Marcellus Wiley two and Johnson had 11/2 sacks on consecutive plays in the third.

On Houston's second series, Carr's pass deflected off receiver Corey Bradford's hands to Seau, who returned it 25 yards to the Houston 6. Three plays later Conway scored on a 3-yard end around.

Houston's score was a 45-yard field goal by Kris Brown in the second quarter.

Cardinals 24, Seahawks 13

SEATTLE -- Arizona's Thomas Jones and MarTay Jenkins ran right over Trent Dilfer's 15-0 streak as a starter.

Jones rushed for a career-high 173 yards on 24 carries and Jenkins had a 95-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter for the Cardinals, who ruined Seattle's debut at $430-million Seahawks Stadium.

Dilfer had won 15 straight starts, including Baltimore's victory in the Super Bowl two years ago. His last loss as a starter came when he played for the Ravens against Pittsburgh Oct. 29, 2000.

Dilfer was 29-of-47 for a career-best 352 yards and a touchdown, but slowed in the second half after leading the Seahawks to a 10-3 lead at the break.

Jake Plummer's 4-yard touchdown to Frank Sanders sealed the victory with 3:18 to play.

Arizona tied it at 10 early in the third when Jones broke a 58-yard scoring run. He found a gap up the middle, moved into the open and got a great downfield block from tight end Freddie Jones.

The Seahawks led 13-10 after Rian Lindell's 19-yard field goal with 12:52 remaining, but Jenkins put Arizona ahead 11 seconds later when he burst up the left side, dodged a dive by Willie Williams and sprinted to the end zone.

Broncos 24, 49ers 14

SAN FRANCISCO -- With a defense that's too much for the league's most potent offenses, the Broncos have knocked off two Super Bowl hopefuls.

Mike Anderson rushed for 95 yards and caught a touchdown and Brian Griese threw two touchdowns for Denver, which defeated St. Louis last week.

The Broncos, who have missed the playoffs two of the past three seasons, appear ready to reclaim their spot among the elite after an impressive victory at Candlestick Point, where the 49ers lost for just the second time in 10 home games.

Fans booed the Niners heartily in the second half, and thousands headed for the exits early.

Griese, almost benched for Steve Beuerlein last week, was unimaginative but efficient in completing 14 of 19 for 119 yards. He threw a 1-yard score to Anderson in the third as Denver overcame a slow start on offense with 24 straight points over the final three quarters.

Starting with consecutive false-start penalties on Terrell Owens during their first drive, the Niners committed 10 penalties for 114 yards.

Owens caught an 8-yard score from Jeff Garcia in the second quarter, but the 49ers' vaunted offense had only 261 total yards.

Browns 20, Bengals 7

CLEVELAND -- No hurled helmets, no haunting ending. The Browns let Cincinnati quarterback Gus Frerotte provide the follies this time.

Frerotte, a right-hander, heaved a pass with his left hand to avoid a sack, and Kenard Lang returned the interception 71 yards to set up a pivotal touchdown for the Browns.

"I saw the end zone and at first -- I felt like Carl Lewis," Lang said. "Then I felt like the Pillsbury Dough Boy."

Kelly Holcomb had another solid game as Tim Couch's fill-in, throwing for two touchdowns and 198 yards.

Linebacker Dwayne Rudd promised fans a great performance to atone for his helmet-throwing blunder a week earlier, which let Kansas City get a 40-39 win. The defense didn't have to be great against the Bengals, who got their first touchdown of the season in the closing minutes.

Not even Corey Dillon could make a dent against a team he has routinely shredded. Dillon ran for 108 yards, caught a team-high eight passes and left to get intravenous fluids for dehydration late in the second quarter.

Patriots 44, Jets 7

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Tebucky Jones and Victor Green scored defensive touchdowns as Super Bowl champion New England won its eighth consecutive regular-season game and 11th straight counting postseason games.

"They're a great team," said Jets cornerback Donnie Abraham, a former Buc. " I think people have to start giving them credit."

It was a dramatically different second game of the season than in 2001, when the Jets knocked out Drew Bledsoe with a chest injury, paving the way for Brady to take over and lead New England from 0-2 to the title.

This time, the Patriots allowed one first down until Matt Turk ran 14 yards on a fake punt with 4:30 left in the third quarter. But later in the drive Green stepped in front of Richie Anderson and intercepted Vinny Testaverde, returning it 90 yards untouched for a 27-0 lead.

"Vinny's a great guy," Green said. "But I can't drop the ball on purpose and not score a touchdown because he's a great guy."

On the first series of the second half, a blitzing Jones forced a Testaverde fumble and returned it 24 yards for a score that made it 17-0.

Cowboys 21, Titans 13

IRVING, Texas -- Standing on the blue star at midfield, his head and arms pointed at the hole in the Texas Stadium roof, Quincy Carter let it all go. Whatever emotions he felt all week didn't matter anymore. He had secured his job and possibly saved the team's season.

Both were in jeopardy after Dallas was humiliated by the expansion Texans in the opener. But as Carter danced back to the sideline after his best pass of the season, his display showed he knew he was back in charge.

"I'm starting to be a leader on this team," said the quarterback who was 14-for-24 for 240 yards with no interceptions.

He executed a play fake for a 17-yard touchdown in the second quarter, then strung together a series of nice plays before throwing a 38-yard touchdown to Joey Galloway that led to his celebration.

With Tennessee ahead 10-7 in the third quarter, Cowboys linebacker Dexter Coakley, shaken up two plays earlier, picked off a wobbly pass from Steve McNair and returned it 52 yards for a touchdown. Safety Darren Woodson hit McNair's arm as he threw.

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